27 April 2019

She's Finally Here!

She has the tiniest hands and biggest blue eyes in the world. She has a lot of hair and doesn’t like wearing hats. She likes being outside but always cries on the allotment. She likes people and smiles in her sleep. Like her Mum, she doesn't have a nice passport photo. She loves cuddles and has the most heart breaking cry I ever heard. Our little girl has finally arrived, four days later than she was expected. It is hard to believe that she is almost seven weeks now, that is how much I have been enjoying my time with her.

How can a person be so tiny?

The birth itself was an intense experience on so many different levels – physical (pain, oh the PAIN!!!), emotional (so much love and gratefulness – for her, for my husband, for every single good thing in my life, no matter how small) and even professional (they let me touch the placenta, woo-hoo!).

Even before she was born she has changed so many things. I never thought you could love a bump but I did. I loved how she was a part of me, the mixture of both of us and yet a very defined person of her own, moving, growing and developing independently.

So after two days in hospital we brought our little bundle home and I haven’t been away from her since (except for one short walk in the park when hubby stayed at home with her). She is even right here with me now as I am writing, wrapped up in a sling on my front, making little sounds and trying hard to fight sleep but her eyelids seem too heavy somehow…

Every day she seems to get bigger and cleverer as she discovers the amazing world and all the things in it that we so often consider ordinary. I can’t wait to take her swimming, show her off to all my friends, sow Nasturtiums and Calendulas and sunflowers with her and watch them grow, take Rocket for walks, go to the library, cook her spaghetti, take her on holiday, build a den and so much more. Life is one big adventure!

09 March 2019

Pruning Purple Sage

The unpruned pruple sage plant

When we took on the allotment last January, we inherited a pretty substantial herb patch consisting mostly of a well established giant purple sage (Salvia officinalis "Purpurascens") plant and rosemary bush of unknown variety, mixed in with some oregano and thyme and something I could not identify at the time which turned out to be a a kind of giant daisy.

The woken-up pest controller

Thrilled as I was that I have all these plants, as the year went on I have not used the sage at all. I tried to reduce its size and gave the off-cuts away to friends to use in the kitchen but it wasn't until last week that I decided to go about it a bit more brutally and give it a proper prune. I was thinking about getting rid of it altogether, but as it is a good feed for pollinators, I decided to keep it. Moreover, I have read that drinking water infused with this plant can help with sore throats - something that I sometimes suffer from as a teacher.

Cutting away the lowest and widest branches I noticed that those that were lying down and touching the soil have developed roots. This is a commonly used method for propagating the plant asexually called "layering" - covering a lower branch with soil, waiting for roots to develop and then cutting it off and thus getting a separate plant. I am not sure whether the previous owners have done this intentionally or whether it just happened but I separated sections of those branches which gave me some really healthy looking cuttings.

Cuttings from the lower branches that have already rooted
I potted and watered them and I keep them in a shady spot behind the shed. I now have eight plants that I definitely do not want to keep but I am thinking I might give them away or wait until our allotment association's open day where I am sure we will have a plant sale.

Three of the cuttings in their new pot. Pretty, aren't they?

05 March 2019

Bumpy Allotment Visits

Today it has been two weeks since I have passed my practical driving test and with lots of encouragement from my husband I have been brave enough to drive my little red car, proudly displaying the magnetic P (probationary) plates. Of course, my first journey was to the allotment. I love the fact that I can just pack a lot of stuff in the car and take it right to the plot.

A perfect day to take the bump out for a bit of fresh air.

Last time I visited the plot and did some proper work was in November when I cleared out the insides of the cold frame, which is where my tomatoes were growing last summer. They have gone a bit wild and the bed became a haven for many weeds. So I took the glass out, moved the frame away and cleared the bed underneath. I have also cardboard mulched it and am planning to use it as a seedling starting site this spring.

The cold frame before and after. The plants on the left are self-seeded forget-me-nots. Great tortoise feed and pretty flowers for me and for the bees)

As we had a couple of unseasonably warm days (17°C in February!), I went back a few times and did little bits and pieces. Amongst them was cleaning the little patio in front of my shed and sifting through some compost.

The patio before and after.

I am slowly weeding the other neglected beds (and expecting a lot of volunteer tomatoes!), but as it goes with big pregnant bumps, I needed to rest frequently (thanks be to anyone who invented folding camping chairs). Cup of tea and a creme egg got me right back into it!


25 February 2019


✿ Last week I turned thirty-one. A couple of years ago that number would have freaked me out. This year I just let myself enjoy some family time - sleepover with my niece and family lunch out. One of my birthday cards included a twenty pound note, so I treated myself to some double primulas in a lovely shade of orange. 

✿ They lived on my windowsill for a couple of days but now they are decorating a freshly weeded corner on my allotment.From what I have read the double primroses are supposed to be much harder to grow than single ones, although it seems that this refers to their reproduction rather than just pure keeping them alive. 

Do you have any experience with growing double primulas? 
✿Are they as difficult as the internet claims they are?✿
Let me know, I'd love to hear from you.
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